UNDERSTAND A DRIVER’S RIGHTS DURING A TRAFFIC STOP
As the summer months heat up, general traffic flow picks up. Impaired drivers pose a danger to other drivers as well as public and private property, so as a matter of public safety, additional police officers patrol roadways during heightened traffic patterns. This is especially true during weekends and holiday seasons. Despite the increased police presence, citizens in Hamilton, Ohio, maintain their basic rights during a traffic stop.
Traffic Stops and Random Checkpoints
State and local police officers are constantly on the lookout for road hazards. Drunk driving is the single biggest threat to other drivers on the road. High speeds, unsafe weather conditions and inexperienced drivers also cause a significant number of traffic accidents.
Traffic stops can be initiated in a number of different ways. The most common reason for a traffic stop is what police officials consider “probable cause.” Speeding and conducting unsafe lane changes are sure ways to get pulled over by law enforcement. Other circumstances, such as having aftermarket parts or a headlight or taillight out, are less urgent reasons for police to stop a moving vehicle.
The Right to Remain Silent
Regardless of the reason for a traffic stop, drivers are entitled to certain rights. Even drivers who are suspected of drunk driving have the right to remain silent and avoid making self-incriminating statements.
The easiest way for a stopped driver to avoid confrontation is to keep quiet. Drivers may choose to give permission for a vehicle search but are not required to do so unless the officer has seen, smelled or heard evidence of an illegal substance.
Traffic stops may result in exorbitant fines or even an arrest. Drivers who find themselves in this predicament should consult with a lawyer before going to court to face the consequences.